On Sunday, UNESCO inscribed the 13th-century Ramappa temple in Palampet, Telangana as a World Heritage Site.
A World Heritage Site is a location with an “outstanding universal value”. This signifies “cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity”. To be included, sites must meet at least one of the ten selection criteria, such as representing a masterpiece of human creative genius, or exhibiting an important interchange of human values over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world.
The decision to inscribe the Ramappa temple was taken at the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO held on Sunday in China.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Excellent! Congratulations to everyone, specially the people of Telangana. The iconic Ramappa Temple showcases the outstanding craftsmanship of great Kakatiya dynasty. I would urge you all to visit this majestic Temple complex and get a first-hand experience of it’s grandness.”
The Rudreswara (Ramappa) Temple is situated near Warangal. An inscription dates it to 1213 and says it was built by a Kakatiya General Recherla Rudra Reddy, during the period of the Kakatiya ruler Ganapati Deva. “Ramappa is the main Shiva temple in a larger walled temple complex, which includes several smaller temples and structures,” Raghvendra Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Culture (under which the ASI functions), told The Indian Express.
It is built of sandstone with decorated beams and pillars of carved granite and dolerite. The inner sanctum is made of lightweight porous bricks. The sculptures, especially bracket figures, have their lustre intact.
The temple was proposed by the government as its only nomination for the UNESCO World Heritage site tag for 2019. It has been in UNESCO’s tentative list since 2014.
The World Heritage Convention’s operational guidelines say that a tentative list is like an inventory of properties a country thinks should be on the World Heritage Site. After UNESCO includes a property in the tentative list, the country prepares a nomination document that will be considered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
In this case, the nomination was under Criterion I (Masterpiece of human creative genius) and Criterion III (bearing a unique or at least an exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition, which is living or which has disappeared). Earlier, the International Council of Historic Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) had evaluated Ramappa’s heritage status.
On Sunday, 17 of the 21 member nations supported the inscription. With this, India now has 39 sites on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and the Archaeological Survey of India is now the custodian of 23 world heritage sites.